New Delhi, Jun 16: The Congress leadership sprang a surprise here on Sunday when it deputed senior lawmakers Kodikunnil Suresh from Kerala and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from West Bengal to attend the all-party meeting convened by the government on the eve of the Parliament session.
Both the lawmakers accompanied senior party colleague and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad at the meet creating ripples in the political circle whether between the two, the role of Congress floor leader in the House of the People and the chief whip will be decided.
The names of Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor - both former Union Ministers - were in the running to be Congress' leader in the Lok Sabha.
Such a decision to name its leader has been necessitated after Malikarjun Kharge, who was Leader of Congress in LS in the 16th Lok Sabha, was humbled in this year's polls.
Between Mr Suresh and Mr Chowdhury, the Kerala lawmaker representing Mavelikkara (SC) reserved constituency is senior.
According to party sources, no decision has been taken yet by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the party leadership as such.
Mr Chowdhury, a former West Bengal Congress chief, was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1999 and since then has returned to the House successfully in all polls in 2004, 2009 and 2014 besides this year.
A vocal lawmaker and also known for his stiff resistance to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the Bahrahampur MP was also the Minister of State for Railways from 2012 to 2014.
For his part, Kerala unit working president K Suresh was first elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and since then he has been elected in 1996, 1999, 2009, 2014 and this year.
In the previous Lok Sabha, Mr Suresh was Member in the Standing Committee on Home Affairs and also served the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament.
When contacted both the leaders declined to comment.
However, sources said Mr Suresh has been receiving calls and complimentary messages as between him and the West Bengal MP, he is 'senior'.
"Nothing much must be read into these. Final decision may be announced by the party only in the next two days," a source close to Mr Suresh told UNI.
Curiously enough, the electoral debacle has built up pressure on the Congress party. With Parliament session to kickoff from Monday, the principal opposition party is still undecided about its floor leader in Lok Sabha.
Other opposition parties have also expressed anxiety that the Congress is unable to take the initiative and the opposition camp is in disarray with no meeting being proposed yet to discuss the strategy to take up issues during the Parliament session.